I have a couple of questions. Can verb-suru verbs be classified as jidoushi/tadoushi?

And could you take a look at this legend to help clear up my confusion?

legend Higher-res: https://i.sstatic.net/PkLYB.jpg

I'm having trouble understanding the significance of the ガ/ヲ and (ヲ)スル that gets wrapped around the vocabulary items in this vocab book.

It mentions that ガ/ヲ indicate 自動詞/他動詞, but I don't know if that applies to the bold part of the vocabulary item (the 見出し語) — it's rare but there are entries that have an <他> or <自> mark, along with accompanying example sentences.

Also confusing is that an example sentence for 超過 uses を (albeit with a marker over the を) even though ガ is prefixed to the vocab item.

So, what's the significance of them? They come in a variety of combinations:

  • 設定(ヲ)スル
  • ガ/ヲ中断スル
  • 作業(ヲ)スル

I couldn't find an example when the <他> mark is used with verb-suru words, but here are some more examples:

hassei higher-res: https://i.sstatic.net/CUdMW.jpg

masu higher-res: https://i.sstatic.net/Knl7b.jpg

semaru higher-res: https://i.sstatic.net/194Zk.jpg

  • Can you post examples where you find the <他> and <自> marks? That might make it possible to tell how they are different from the ヲ and ガ marks. Without it, it is hard to tell.
    – user458
    Sep 25, 2011 at 3:57
  • I've added a few examples. Let me know if you were looking for something more specific. Sep 25, 2011 at 4:41

2 Answers 2


In your book, 車がスピードを増した is listed under intransitives (<自>) rather than transitives (<他>) even though it has an を-marked phrase. This seems to suggest that the book is making the (in)transitive distinction in a non-standard way so that it does not coincide with ガ/ヲ marking. (It says ガ/ヲはそれぞれの動詞が自動詞/他動詞であることを表す, but that contradicts with the listing mention above.) Let's see if there are other interpretations than mine.

The distinction made in the book

: Verbs that take a phrase marked with . (Transitive verbs in the standard sense)
: Other verbs. (Intransitive verbs in the standard sense)

<他>: Verbs that take a semantically typical object (such as theme)
<自>: Other verbs

Typical objects are noun phrases that have the semantic role technically called theme, that is, the object of the act mentioned by the verb. It usually goes under some change of state or its location changes. For example, in John painted the wall, the wall is an object in the ordinary sense as well as a typical object since the act of painting is done against the wall, which undergoes change. Opposed to this, in The car gained speed, speed is not a typical object, and some people may find it controversial as to call this an object in the ordinary sense. Because of this difference, vs. does not coincide with <他> vs. <自> in the sense mentioned in the book.

There is another use of found in your book. For example, in:


the second is mentioning that you may put an between the noun and する. Some suru-nouns require this , some can optionally take it, and some do not take it. This depends on how much the suru-noun (usually a kango or gairaigo) became familiar in Japanese. You have to memorize this for each suru-noun. Note that two are not allowed in a single clause in Japanese, so they will not be used together. In the above example, you have to go with either of the first two of:

× 友達がファイルを設定をする  

Finally, just as given in your examples, noun-suru verbs do have transitive/intransitive distinction in the ordinary sense or in the sense mentioned in the book.

  • Alright, thanks sawa. So, if I see a verb that is prefixed with either a ガ or ヲ that makes no mention of the other usage, should I just think of that word as a ガ or ヲ word? I think that's why I'm so confused, the point of the book I'm up to has had a bunch of these cases. Sep 25, 2011 at 6:50
  • BTW, would you have said スピードが増した? Sep 25, 2011 at 6:50
  • @Louis ガ vs. ヲ crosscuts 自 vs. 他 according to my interpretation. Anyway, I don't think the 自 vs. 他 distinction mentioned in the book is helpful. The imporrant things is 1. to know what particle it takes, and 2. to get the meaning. Just concentrate on ガ/ヲ.
    – user458
    Sep 25, 2011 at 6:55
  • @Louis スピードが増した is fine.
    – user458
    Sep 25, 2011 at 6:57
  • Cool, I'll keep that in mind. Sep 25, 2011 at 7:14

Just to complement the previous answer. Judging by the photos you posted, your book seems to by trying to tell you that there are verbs that have both an intransitive meaning (marked by ガ) and a transitive meaning (marked by ヲ). When this happens, it gives examples for boths senses: the examples for the intransitive sense are under 自、the examples for transitive sense by 他. To take an example; as you can see in Jisho, 増す has both a transitive and intransitive meaning, so your book marks it with "ガ・ヲ". Then it provides the examples: under the heading < 自> are all the intransitive ones and they all take ガ; under <他> all the transitive ones and they all take を(ヲ).
When the verb only has a intransitive/transitive meaning, it will provide you with a verb that has the other meaning. So for example 欠ける it's marked by ガ: this verb only has an intransitive meaning. Then you get to the bottom of the page, and you find some examples under the heading <他>; but these are examples that use the verb 欠く, the transitive "version" of 欠ける. So 茶碗の縁がかけてしまいまった "The brim of the cup is chipped". but 義理を欠く "To break your duty". If you are confused about what transitive and intransitive means and their link to the particles "が・を" check this .

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